Miami fire chief meets with commissioners about fatal boating accident

Maurice Kemp praises authorities, civilians for quick response

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

MIAMI - Miami Fire Chief Maurice Kemp met with commissioners Thursday morning to thank all the agencies and civilian boaters who helped after the Fourth of July fatal boating accident.

Four people died and several others were hurt, some critically, after a boat crashed into two others in what has been described as the worst boating accident in South Florida history.

Kemp said Fire Boat 1, with four paramedics on board, had been patrolling the area and arrived on scene in seven minutes. Fire Boat 2 was then dispatched with another eight paramedics on board.

The fire chief also played the radio transmissions of the calls for help to offer commissioners a glimpse into that fateful night.

In a news conference after his brief presentation, Kemp also responded to critics of the emergency response.

"Our plan is to meet with all the agencies, and have a meeting where we talk about how things went, and where there might be room for improvement," said Kemp. "And then, whatever we decide to do differently we will do exercises and drills to make sure that we're comfortable with it and just see how we can do better. I feel the response was adequate."

"More resources on the water can only help," said Robert Suarez, president of the Miami Association of Firefighters. "But this incident was not an example of a poor response. Actually, the response was enormous."

Miami Fire Rescue also said the response was not poor the night of the accident, but said the conditions on the water were chaotic.

Click here to watch the fire chief's full presentation to commissioners.

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